Working overseas with Ewan Hogarth (Chee Chan Golf Resort, Thailand)

Working overseas with Ewan Hogarth (Chee Chan Golf Resort, Thailand)


PGA Head Professional Ewan Hogarth talks about the career path that has led him to enjoy to a number of roles in Asia, including his current position running the PGA Academy at the recently opened Chee Chan Golf Resort in Pattaya, Thailand.

What has been your career path to date?

I have been very fortunate to work all over the world. From continental Europe to the Caribbean and now in south-east Asia. Originally from the small town of Peebles in Scotland, I first moved out to Asia in 2013, initially working as Tourism Professional in Sabah, East Malaysia.

In 2015 I was offered the Head Teaching Professional’s position at The Royal Selangor Club in Kuala Lumpur where I spent two very happy years. In late 2017 I decided to take up a new position with Mizuno Golf Schools in Jakarta, Indonesia, where I spent another two years before being offered the fantastic chance of career progression with IMG at the setting up of The PGA Academy at Chee Chan Golf Resort in Thailand, where I moved to in January 2020. I was involved with every stage of the planning, design, preopening, opening and the now the daily operation of the academy, which has been a tremendous experience.

What attracted you to working overseas in the first instance?

My first opportunity to work outside of the UK came in 2012, when I ran the golf programme for onboard ships for Costa Cruises, working out of Genoa in Italy. I must have visited over 30 countries in my first year in the job, which really opened my eyes to the global reach of the golf industry and really whetted my appetite to working overseas.

How did you hear about the role at Chee Chan and what qualities do you think got you the job?

I initially found about the job through the PGA website’s employment page, although I already having connections in the region allowed me to discuss the role with Paul Burley at IMG, which are management consultants for Chee Chan Golf Resort. Being based in Jakarta at that time, and having a good deal of experience of working in the region, were probably significant factors in me getting the job.

How has your PGA training, support and resources helped prepare you for your current role?

The PGA gives every young aspiring golf professional a great foundation on which to build their career in the golf industry. I remember being very young – around 18 or 19 – when I first started the training programme, and this has given me the time to really build on my experience and develop my career gradually.

What facilities are on offer at Chee Chan?

We have an outstanding five-star championship golf course that was voted the best course in Thailand in 2020 by Golf Digest. Our location is unrivaled in the area with the famous Khao Chee Chan Buddha mountain overlooking every hole. I run our PGA Branded Golf Academy and provide all tuition, and I think our driving range view is up there with best in Asia!

What does a typical working day involve?

Although we cater to all levels of golfers, the main bulk of our coaching is with promising youngsters that are looking to compete as elite juniors and young professionals. The standard of the youngsters here in Thailand is quite exceptional. They are always playing scratch tournaments on challenging courses all year round that almost forces them to get very good very early.

What are the most rewarding and the most challenging aspects of your job?

I would say dealing with the impatience of my pupils is the most challenging thing. Trying to get them to manage their expectations can be tricky. We are lucky to have a great crop of seriously talented young golfers, including Thai national team players and US collegiate golfers. One of our golfers has only just turned 18 and is already inside the top 500 on the men’s professional world rankings due to his performances on the All Thailand and Asian Tours.

How would you describe your coaching philosophy?

Keep It Simple Stupid. There are of course times where you need to delve into more detail, but KISS is a general rule of thumb. I enjoy many of the old school, no-nonsense teachers like John Jacobs and Butch Harmon. There is a lot of wisdom in their teachings and I use many of their ideas. Bob Rotella is another big influence for me when preparing elite players for tournaments.

I always make sure to learn from other PGA Professionals I have worked with in the past. Each sees the game slightly differently, so you can always learn from peers that have had different experiences in the game.

What bits of technology do you use the most and how have they improved your working life?

We use Foresight Sports GC Quad and Swing Catalyst video analysis here at the PGA Academy. It can make coaching a lot simpler having the data and measurements for a diagnosis of any issues. However, don’t underestimate how important having a depth of knowledge, a trained eye, good communication skills and enthusiasm in coaching day to day.

Have you had any mentors during your career or someone who you have been able to lean on for advice? If so, who and what have you learned from them?

I remember Neil Douglas and Russell Maw, both experienced British PGA professionals in Malaysia, giving me some great early advice about living and working in the region. David Baron and Alan Martin, both PGA Professionals in Cambodia, have been great guys to know in the region, as well as my current general manager here at Chee Chan, Passakorn Roddej, a Thai national from whom I have learned a lot about the country in general, culture and golf management in Thailand on a daily basis.

What do you know now that you wish you’d have known when you first started out?

That when golf becomes your career you lose it as your hobby.

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

I hope to still be progressing my career in this part of the world, which has become home for me, either coaching, in golf management or in the wider golf business in Asia. There are many opportunities to explore once you have connections in the region.

What advice would you pass on to other PGA Members who may be interested in coaching or working abroad in general and Thailand specifically?

Get used to the heat! In all seriousness, the climate is a considerable factor, especially in any coaching role in a tropical region. Definitely go for any opportunity that presents itself or create your own.

I would also say patience is a key requirement for living and working in this part of the world. Every day can be test of patience, both inside and outside of the work environment. Just embrace the way things are done and always try to be calm and respectful – which is easier said than done at times!


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